House of Lords on climate change
Nov 3, 2010
Bishop Hill in Climate: Parliament, Energy

It's a long time since I watched proceedings in the House of Lords and having sat through ten minutes of the third Baron Grantchester (Lab) I remembered why I had found better things to do for the last few years. That said, while there was a lot about Tuesday's debate about climate change and energy policy to get depressed about, there were also some points of interest.

The debate was entitled "That this House takes note of the future of energy policy in the light of the climate change challenge." (Hansard here - note that there are two separate pages of text to access).

I'll look at some of the silly things that were said in another post, but in the meantime, there was much fun to be had from comparing the subjects of the noble lords' contributions to the statements of interests with which most of them introduced their speeches.

Lord Grantchester, a billionaire landowner and farmer spoke at length about the feed in tariffs for farm anaerobic digestion schemes and called for a rise in the rates paid. Lord Whitty (Lab), the chairman of a combined heat and power company, welcomed the government's commitment to "increase decentralised energy". Lord Jenkin (Con), President of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear concentrated on increased use of nuclear power.

Baroness Maddock (LD) had a dilemma. She doubles as vice-president of National Energy Action, a charity that works to eliminate fuel poverty, and president of the Micropower Council, positions that pull her in opposite directions. Which would win out then: compassion or big business? Unfortunately for the poor people, her business interests seemed to take priority and she called for "reducing energy consumption and moving to sustainable sources of energy" to form the core of the nation's strategy.

There are probably more like this, but there is only so much of this grubby stuff that one can bear to read.

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